South Sudan is preparing for the next big event as the satellite that maps the earth and takes powerful high quality aerial images of towns and cities is expected to fly over some inhabited areas in South Sudan and parts of Northern Uganda.
The exact time and date has not been confirmed yet but government officials are already advising the citizens to ‘freeze, look up and smile’ when that time comes.
This will be the second time the Google’s new imaging satellite passes over major South Sudanese towns since the world’s newest nation got its independence a few years ago. The authorities believe it is finally time the ‘development’ that has happened in the country since then come to light.
As part of the preparations, the government is planning to clean up the streets and market places so that they appear a bit more orderly from the skies, – and the people look livelier.
“Google Maps and Google Earth still shows old and blurry images of our towns with just one mile of tarmac, no traffic and goats laying in the roads. We hope that this time around, it will capture the good stuff, but we need to do a bit of cleaning up first,” said an official.
Saakam has also learned that Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) are making preparations of their own. Residents in camps for the displaced and food distribution centres are told to position their tents so that the brands and logos of the NGO’s always appear at the roof and are clearly visible from the skies. Old tents with faded brands of the NGO will be replaced in time for the big event.
Although the satellite images might not be too detailed to the extend of recognizing a smiley face from a frowning one, the officials behind the campaign believe the preparations and posing for an out-of-sight camera can forge a sense of unity among the people – even if it’s just for a split second.
Asked about the other towns that have been destroyed since the fighting and rebellion started, the official refused to comment citing National Security concerns as a reason.
The Saakam office in Juba has already roofed its slogan and a secret message, and all staff will be waving the South Sudan flag, wearing Salva-Kiir-like hats with big yellow smiley face at the top of each, and white t-shirts in anticipation of this major historic event.